Jefferson commissioners set cap for Port Townsend revenue contributions
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Port Townsend Mayor David King, right, addresses the Jefferson County commissioners on Monday as County Administrator Philip Morley listens. —Photo by Charlie Bermant/Peninsula Daily News

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — With a deal reached by the city to contribute a portion of revenue raised from a voter-approved sales tax increase, the Jefferson County Commissioners on Monday approved a resolution to set a cap on the contributions.

The approved cap for the four-year period that ends May 31, 2015 is $852,716.

If that amount is reached before the agreement’s end date, no other allocations will be required, nor will there be if the contributions fall short of that amount.

Both agencies expect to reach the amount.

“Anything can happen, but we don’t expect a shortfall,” said County Administrator Philip Morley.

“Right now the actual revenue is running ahead of the projections.”

Voters in November 2010 passed Proposition 1, which initiated a 0.3-percent county sales tax increase, bringing the tax to 8.7 percent.

The move was to fund county services and to subsidize local recreation options with a measure designated as a Law and Justice Levy, which required that 40 percent of the new revenue raised be allocated to the city.

After the measure passed, the city agreed to contribute 40 percent of its share from the sales tax rate, estimated at around $200,000 per year, to the support of recreational facilities, specifically the Port Townsend Recreation Center and Memorial Field.

The resolution, which was expected to be addressed and approved by the Port Townsend City Council at its regular meeting Monday night, places a $852,716 cap on that total contributed amount.

The agreement will expire on May 31, 2015.

The agreement went into effect on June 1, 2011, and for that partial year, the county received $111,514.

The agreement yielded $185,992 in 2012 and $254,170 in 2013, with $212,500 projected for 2014.

This projection estimates the county will receive $88,540 in 2015, which is the difference between the four-year total of $764,174 and the agreed-upon $852,716 cap.

According to the resolution, the county will be able to accumulate $175,000 for use in upcoming capital projects, including the removal and reconstruction of the Memorial Field roof, the replacement of the roof on the recreation center and the structural reinforcement of the community center gymnasium.

After the agreement ends, the funds previously allocated to the county will be used for city projects including the rehabilitation of the Mountain View Campus, according to Port Townsend Mayor David King.

County Commissioner David Sullivan said that a source to replace the city’s revenue when the deal ends has yet to be determined.

“There are no identified replacements,” Sullivan said.

“Through the collaborative process, we’ve been able to keep parks and recreation in place. We’ll keep the collaborative process going.”

Sullivan doesn’t see the county raising property taxes to support parks and recreation, saying “in this climate, I don’t think it is a good source, so it was a good process to go with the sales tax increase instead.”

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Jefferson County Reporter Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at charlie.bermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: June 16. 2014 6:27PM
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